Can you identify which UK celebrities are posh and which are not? Let’s listen to some British celebrities speaking, check their Wikipedia pages and work out of these people are truly posh or not. You’ll hear samples of lots of spoken English in this episode and we’ll focus on accent and pronunciation.
Introduction Transcript (Videos below)
This is episode 582 and it’s called “Posh or not posh? (Part 2) Guess the Posh British Celebrities” and in this one we’re going to listen to a lot of famous British people and work out if they are posh or not.
This follows on from the last episode in which I talked about what makes a person posh and what posh people sound like when they speak.
You should listen to episode 581 before listening to this I reckon.
In the last episode you heard me say that a really important thing is to listen to people speaking and to hear lots of examples of posh speech. In this episode you’re going to hear loads of different people speaking. Some of them sound posh and others don’t. So you’re going to hear a mix of different accents. I could probably break it down like this – posh RP, standard RP and regional accents.
We’re going to go through a list of British celebrities. Can you identify if these people are posh?
I’ll name the person. We’ll listen to some audio of them speaking and see if their accent is posh. We’ll look out for some little clues that kind of give it away. Then I’ll have a look at their Wikipedia pages to get some more info and find out if they really are posh.
Remember the 7 types of poshness we talked about before.
- poshness of birth
- poshness of wealth
- poshness of accent
- poshness of education
- poshness of excellent taste – the fine arts, fine wine, fine food – anything with ‘fine’ before it
- poshness of exuberant vulgarity (e.g. over-the-top excessive and showy expressions of bad taste – bling)
- poshness of assumed superiority
The key things in the Wikipedia biography are: educational background (private schools, boarding schools, single-sex schools, prep schools) and family background (any connections to nobility). Also we’ll pay attention to the way they speak.
So it’s basically – poshness of birth, poshness of education and poshness of accent that we’re looking at here.
Remember that hardly anyone has all the traits of being posh. For example, I expect that most of the people in my list don’t score very highly in the “poshness of assumed superiority” because most of them are humble actors but maybe some of them actually are arrogant enough to assume that they’re better than everyone else. Anyway, the main things we’re looking at are birth (family connections) education (which school) and accent.
Again, it’s not very fair to judge people, and I’m just trying to help learners of English to be able to identify certain things about people from England.
As we go through these video clips which are on YouTube, the focus for me is on just the way the people speak. We might have to skip past some of the language (vocabulary) while doing this. Normally when I use audio like this on the podcast I break it down word by word so you can understand everything. There might not be time for in-depth analysis like that. We’ll focus on the accent, I might explain what’s being said a bit, and then we’ll check the Wikipedia page for that person and move on.
So, are these people posh or not? Let’s go.
Videos & Speech Samples
Prince Harry (duh)
Jack Whitehall (and his Dad)
Any other UK celebrities you can think of? Add a video in the comment section.